By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)Â has entered into partnership with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the University of Ife to establish climate observatory centres.
Disclosing this in Abuja recently, Mrs Juliana Gunwa, director in charge of Marine Environment Management of NIMASA said the agency is working very hard to ensure that unseaworthy vessels are eliminated from the nationâ€™s waters.
She explained that climate change is already happening, adding that there is evidence to show that warming of the system is unequivocal.
Besides the establishment of observatories, the agency is also adopting the appropriate technologies and using traditional knowledge to safeguard the environment.
Nigeria, according to the marine expert, is making concerted effort towards ratifying the International Maritime Organisationâ€™s convention that deals with air pollutionÂ (Annex VI of MARPOL).
She disclosed that Nigeria is also ready to implement the provisions of the convention in line with IMOâ€™s resolve to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide from ships.
â€œThe phrase, â€˜climate changeâ€™ captures a number of discrete processes that result in alteration of global system.
â€œGreen house gases such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone and methane are emitted through both natural processes and more recently, through increased human activity.
â€œGreen house gases make up 1% of the atmosphere around the earth, but they act like a blanket around the roof.
â€œThese gas molecules trap the solar heat that radiates off the earth back out to the universe.â€œThese gases help keep the planet about 30oC warmer than it would otherwise be.
â€œHuman activities are making this layer of the atmospheric greenhouse gases thicker -Â the natural levels of these gases are being supplemented by emission of carbon dioxide by man in his quest for socio-economic well being.
Climate change will have wide-ranging effect on the environment, and on the socio-economic and related sectors including resources, agriculture and food security, human health, terrestrial ecosystems, bio-diversity and coastal zones,â€ she added.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director-General of NIMASA, Mr Temi Omatseye noted that the environmental credentials of every country and industry are now under stricter scrutiny, adding that polluters of the environment will face serious sanctions.
He explained that the less fuel burnt, the smaller the carbon emitted, noting that shipbuilders are developing more propulsion systems that will reduce fuel consumption.
The government was amongst other things charged to fast-track the implementation of the marine domain awareness project with a view to identifying and addressing environmental challenges.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of a two-day conference on climate change to commemorate the World Maritime Day celebration and the government was charged to institute other measures and re-engineer existing ones to identify major pollutants and their degree of pollution.
Besides, an inter-ministerial national policy coordination group is also to be established to produce a strategic document for policy and regulatory oversight and international collaboration.